The sound of the explosion that took place on Istiklal Street, where more than 1 million people step every day in Istanbul, at 16.13 yesterday, echoed along the Bosphorus line. Those who saw the flame cloud rising from the street to the sky fled to the side streets in seconds.
From 1999 until yesterday, six bomb attacks were carried out on the Gümüşsuyu-Taksim-İstiklal Avenue route.
March 27, 1999: PKK member Semiha Kılıç, who approached the buses in Taksim Square, where the Riot Police were in, detonated the bomb on her. While the 25-year-old terrorist was falling to pieces; 11 people were injured, three of them police officers.
September 10, 2001: While exiting Taksim Square from Gümüşsuyu, a suicide bomber was attacked by DHKP-C terrorist Uğur Bülbül on the Riot Force checkpoint located in front of a restaurant and a building. Police officers Halil İbrahim Doğan and Tuncay Karataş were martyred, and a passerby died. 17 of them were police and 24 people were injured. It was learned that Doğan and Karataş wore uniforms about two months ago and started their duties.
November 20, 2003: At around 10.55 am, a bomb attack was carried out with explosive-laden pickup trucks on the British Consulate General on Kamer Hatun Sokak, 450 meters from Istiklal Street. In the attack, which was claimed by al-Qaeda, 16 people, including the British Consul General in Istanbul, Roger Short, lost their lives.
October 31, 2010: A suicide bomber attack was carried out on the waiting point of the Riot Forces teams at the entrance of Taksim Square, Istiklal Street. 32 people, 17 of them civilians and 15 of them police officers, were injured. The windows of many shops on Sıraselviler Street were broken.
Vedat Acar, a member of TAK, the metropolitan organization of the terrorist organization PKK, which carried out the attack, was dismembered at the scene. Hüseyin Çapkın, the Istanbul Police Chief of the time, said that another bomb was found next to the body of the terrorist who tried to enter the police van.
March 19, 2016: On March 17, 2016, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned its citizens in Istanbul against a possible terrorist attack. The German Embassy in Ankara, Istanbul Consulate General and the German High School in Istanbul were closed for one day for security reasons.
The Governor of Istanbul at the time – now the Governor of Ankara – was Vasip Şahin, and then the Istanbul Police Chief – now the Deputy Chief of Police – Mustafa Çalışkan. Upon this warning, the Istanbul Governor’s Office declared, “Do not take into account the sensational and unserious news and rumors”.
Two days after the warning, on March 19, at 10:55, the terrorist organization ISIS militant Mehmet Öztürk detonated the explosives on his Istiklal Street. Four people, including three Israeli citizens and one Iranian citizen, were killed and 36 injured.